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August 28, 2015, Friday
  • Some INC members blocked the convoy of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima as she was leaving the DOJ before 5 pm Thursday. 13 hours ago |
  • Expelled INC minister Samson’s camp says INC’s rally wants to force gov’t to favor INC leaders facing illegal detention & other charges. 14 hours ago |
  • Padre Faura Street in Manila rendered impassable by INC members holding protest at DOJ. 14 hours ago |
  • Police exercise maximum tolerance as hundreds of INC members hold protest in front of DOJ. 14 hours ago |
  • Some INC members accuse DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima of meddling in INC’s internal affairs. 14 hours ago |
  • Hundreds of Iglesia ni Cristo members hold protest in front of Department of Justice along Padre Faura St. in Manila. 14 hours ago |
  • Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon warns a cut in the capital outlays of state universities & colleges could result in tuition hikes. 21 hours ago |
  • House approves on third reading the LPG Industry Regulation and Safety Act. 21 hours ago |
  • Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima and Customs Chief Bert Lina invited to attend the Senate probe on balikbayan boxes next week. 21 hours ago |
  • Senate probe on BOC’s random inspection of balikbayan boxes to begin next week. 21 hours ago |
  • Migrante International calls on OFWs to support ‘no remittance day’ on Friday. 21 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquno expected to visit and greet Justice Sec. De Lima at DOJ on her 56th birthday. 21 hours ago |
  • Taft Avenue & Padre Faura St. in Manila temporarily closed on Wednesday a.m. due to a protest rally staged by group ‘Bayan’ in front of DOJ. 21 hours ago |
  • Some U.P. Diliman students staged a walkout from their classrooms to protest tuition hikes in state colleges and universities. 21 hours ago |
  • Henry Sy is still number one in Forbes’ list of richest Filipinos. 21 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon says the Senate sub-committee’s probe on allegations vs. Binays is delayed by Gerry Limlingan & Ebeng Baloloy’s absence. 21 hours ago |
  • DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson says sorry for the heavy traffic and frequent floods in Metro Manila. 21 hours ago |
  • DPWH Sec. Singson says it is not easy to implement the comprehensive flood control project in Metro Manila. 21 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino emphasizes the need for a comprehensive flood management plan. 22 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino cites the presence of too many new cars and new motorcycles on the road as factors that aggravate the heavy traffic situation. 22 hours ago |
  • Light to moderate rains expected in some areas in Northern and Central Luzon. 22 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says the release of water by 3 dams in Luzon won’t result in floods as no heavy rains are expected on Wednesday. 22 hours ago |
  • Binga and Ambuklao dams in Benguet and San Roque dam in Pangasinan release water. 22 hours ago |
  • Justice Sec. Leila de Lima says she won’t react to issues on Wednesday as she celebrates her 56th birthday. 22 hours ago |
  • NEDA says the Philippine economy grew by 5.6% during the second quarter of 2015. 22 hours ago |
  • Makati Rep. Binay says Sen. Antonio Trillanes should use his 55 consultants to help him get his facts right. 22 hours ago |
  • Makati Rep. Abigail Binay dares the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee to invite her to its hearings. 22 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon defends the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee’s continuous probe on alleged anomalies linked to Binays. 22 hours ago |
  • Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada offers flowers at Quirino Grandstand for 8 HK tourists who were killed in a bungled hostage crisis 5 years ago. 23 hours ago |
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Congress goes on two-week recess

By Maricel Cruz | Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:02am
The 15th Congress went on a two-week recess yesterday with the House of Representative holding a marathon session to review the projects that congressmen want to be funded by the realigned Priority Development Assistance Fund.

“We will do our best to approve it tonight,” said Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the powerful appropriations committee that is deliberating the pending General Appropriations Act of 2014.

The Senate, on the other hand, did not extend their sessions because its finance committee only completed a little more than half the projected number of hearings on the funding requirements of the national government.

The senators were also beleaguered by public demands for an explanation on the P50 million they supposedly received purportedly in connection with the removal of former chief justice Renato Corona last year.

Both the House and the Senate expect to have the bill approved on third reading before the year ends in order for President Aquino to sign the measure into law by January 2014.

Ungab said House leaders expect to approve the budget bill, or House Bill 2630, on second reading before they go on recess and will take it up on third and final reading when they resume session on Oct. 14.

“As for re-alignments, I don’t think there will be re-alignments because most of the budget is already itemized. The PDAF was scrapped and it was re-aligned into items in social services,” Ungab said at press time as congressmen deliberated on department budgets.

The portion on lump-sum funds was scheduled to be the penultimate item on the agenda and was expected to be tackled before dawn of Saturday, Ungab added.

Ungab said the House also formed a small committee that will work on proposed amendments to the Palace-proposed P2.268-trillion national budget during the recess.

Ungab confirmed that some congressmen have already filed requests for infrastructure projects to be funded by the re-aligned PDAF.

“Most of them have already submitted their proposals which we will include in the period of amendments. During the break, there will be a small committee that will collate all the amendments so that before we are able to pass it on third reading, the proposed amendments are all complete,” Ungab said.

“We expect everybody to submit [requests] because everybody wants to nominate good projects for their constituents [and] sectors,” he added.

Under the House approved budget, each congressman will be allotted P24.5 million for hard or infrastructure projects as provided for under the new proposed guidelines for the re-aligned.

Ungab maintained that the 2014 budget will deny congressmen the discretion to determine the recipients of pork barrel funds.

Instead, these funds were re-aligned to five executive agencies, such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Labor and Employment.

As for soft projects, Ungab said lawmakers are not allowed to make any recommendation in behalf of their constituents as they have to follow certain mechanisms to be provided under the 2014 budget bill.

“We gave the soft portion to different departments. I understand every congressman has been informed that there are existing guidelines, policies that need to be followed. So everyone has to follow,” Ungab said. “They are only allowed to submit proposals for hard projects.”

Ungab also said that the House-approved version of the measure provides that the lump-sum appropriations under executive agencies, including the Office of the President, will be retained.

He said the government will have a hard time operating in times of calamities without the necessary funding available, stressing that natural calamities such as typhoons are unpredictable. With Macon Araneta
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